If you’re tired of news about smartphone-related patent litigation, you’re not alone. However, there’s more to come as Apple and Samsung’s long-running patent feud appears no closer to resolution today than it was two years ago.
The parties return to court this week for another round of patent-for-tat. The new case presents five Apple claims against Samsung and two counterclaims against Apple. Among the Apple claims against Samsung are “slide to unlock” and “tap to search” (on a map) or call a phone number.
The damages sought by each side are curiously unbalanced. Apple wants a $40 royalty per Samsung phone sold (or perhaps as much as $2 billion), while Samsung is only asking for damages of between $6 – $7 million.
Apple won round one in US District Court two years ago when a jury found that the Korean company had infringed a range of Apple patents, giving it a near total legal victory. Samsung was ultimately required to pay roughly $1 billion but no phones were banned and the landmark trial had limited or little impact on the companies or the public. The victory for Apple has turned out to be largely symbolic.
The list of allegedly infringing Samsung phones in this round includes many of the earlier Galaxy handsets and the Galaxy Note. Samsung contends that all of Apple’s recent products (including iPhone 5 and most recent iPads) violate its two patents at issue.
The focus in this round is entirely on software rather than hardware. Accordingly the case takes aim at Google more directly. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google witnesses (including Andy Rubin) are expected to testify in defense of Samsung.
If Apple were to prevail it might compel Google to make selected changes in Android. Just as with the prior Apple-Samsung litigation outcome, however, little is likely to change for the public and the money ultimately won’t make much difference to the companies either way.
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